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Archive for the ‘NZ Politics’ Category

There are deep problems with “kindness” as a political philosophy.

with 4 comments

So says a commentator on a recent article about Jacinda Ardern published in The Times in Britain.

The article itself – “How I watched the halo slipping from Jacinda Ardern” – doesn’t really add anything new to other coverage of her that has been made in the wake of her resignation as Prime Minister.

It’s actually that comment by one Iain Thorpe, picked up the blog site Samizdata, that is more interesting than the article itself. He goes on to say:

If kindness is the answer to all problems, then the problems must be caused by unkindness. And people who disagree with you must be unkind people. Obviously you don’t have to listen when unkind people try to tell you anything. And you certainly don’t have to offer them the same concern or compassion as other people. Their unkindness is their own fault. You don’t have to do anything for it, or for them.

And so “kindness” ends up being without empathy, the opposite of inclusion. Ardern’s inability to deal with people who disagreed with or were disadvantaged by her government’s policies was striking. She seldom even attempted to speak to them and seemed incapable of winning over anyone who opposed her.

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Written by Tom Hunter

February 3, 2023 at 8:13 am

Dare we hope? (A return to blogging)

with 8 comments

I have been remiss in not writing in this blog for a while now – some health challenges, moving house (and city), the military posting cycle and exhaustion from an extremely busy couple of years (the 17.7% attrition rate in the army is a contributing factor to that!) have meant that I ended last year a burnt-out shadow of my former self.

I shall rectify this, and shall recommence blogging.

I must also admit to having an overwhelming sense of pessimism about NZ which hindered my motivation to write NZ. More than any other Western country, NZ has thrown away any sense of work ethic and personal responsibility, and our institutional elites seem hell bent on destroying what was once a very good education system, military, public sector and an economy which was once the envy of the world.

With the resignation of Ms Ardern, a figure I regard as so completely overhyped and overrated as to quite possibly be one of the most ineffective country leaders of the last 70 years, dare I feel some more hope about this country?

I certainly don’t rate Chris Hipkins as being able to turn anything around – he has played a starring role in the continued degradation of our education system. And he has just as much experience outside politics as Ms Ardern and Mr Robertson and all the other student politicians turned political advisors turned politicians. But he will bring some more energy and optimism to a Labour caucus who were very much seeing the writing on the wall about their inevitable defeat.

Nor do I actually rate Christopher Luxon. No policy announcements, very little I can see in the way of idealism and no mongrel to take on a hostile media establishment trying to force woke religion down his (and our) throats.

But there is an election this year, and there is a swelling dissatisfaction amongst NZ about what has happened to our country not just in the last five years, but the last couple of generations (blame to go towards both major parties).

So I shall return to blogging. My main motivation is to analyse what sort of country my son is going to be born in and grow up in – he is only a couple of months away now. Will he go to a school with a teacher trying to convince him behind my back that he is actually a girl? Will his school teach him anything about maths and physics, or will it all be about post-colonial stress disorders which he owes reparations for? Will he be able to find a decent job? Will the taxes on his income cripple him? Will he ever be able to afford a house? Will I ever be able to afford a house for that matter?

Should I call it early and emigrate before he needs to start school? Or should I hold out in hope for this country of ours?

Written by Major Star

January 21, 2023 at 2:04 pm

NEW YEAR PREDICTIONS

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#1 from my post of 29 December … Jacx will not lead the Labour Party into the next election.

I’m picking Wood over Hipkins but Keri Allan could be a dark horse … such is the power of the Maori caucus.

Mean – but clever…

Written by The Veteran

January 19, 2023 at 3:12 pm

Hoping for social cohesion

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An article posted in early December last year by Karl Du Fresne is worth noting now as we move into the new year, Why social cohesion should be the key issue in 2023.

Karl notes a few of the bad things that have developed under this Labour government’s headlong and headstrong rush where only fools run, seemingly on a leash held by the Maori group inside Labour, led by Willy Jackson and Nanaia Mahuta.

But it seems that it’s an article by Victoria University politics lecturer Bryce Edwards, that has greatly increased Karl’s concerns, especially compared to the last great upheaval in the form of the Springbok Tour in 1981, which was over a single issue, which wounds began to heal when the tour ended and ended a decade later when Apartheid ended in South Africa:

But in 2022, there are multiple social cracks spreading in all directions, and no promise that the fractures will heal.

Where Bryce Edwards and the respondents to the survey he reports may be wrong, I suspect, is in identifying inequalities of wealth and housing as the key factors “tearing the country apart”, in Edwards’ words. I think there’s much more to it than that.

Well of course; Edwards is an old-style Leftist and you can find ones similar to him like Chris Trotter and “Bomber” Bradbury expressing the same concerns and locating to them to the same sources of traditional Marxist analysis. You’d think they’d know better after sixty years of the Counter-Culture revolution and the likes of Herbert Marcuse and his fellow travelers of the Frankfurt school, plus Antonio Gramsci, who believed that Communist Revolutions in the West required more than the scientific inevitability of capitalist collapse but also the destruction of Western cultural institutions.

Du Fresne actually throws a bone to those economic determinists by admitting the obvious fact that the post-1984 economic changes in NZ made big changes, even as he supported them:

… there’s no denying they fundamentally re-arranged New Zealand’s social furniture in ways that I don’t think were foreseen. What we thought of then as an unavoidable but temporary social dislocation ended up becoming structurally embedded.

But he’s right to be worried that there’s a lot more to our current divisions than this:

Identity politics promotes a neo-Marxist view of society as inherently divided between the privileged – for which read white and male – and a plethora of aggrieved groups struggling against oppression and disadvantage.

We are told these perceived disadvantages are the result of structural imbalances of power that can be remedied only by a radical reconstruction of society. It’s effectively a zero-sum game in which power must be transferred from those who are perceived as having it to those who feel excluded.

To which Gramsci, Marcuse and company would simply say “of course“, as do their contemporaries in the comments sections of places like The Standard and The Daily Blog. But of course revolutionaries have never worried about the side-effects of their maniacal pursuits:

This creates conditions in which society runs the risk of going to war with itself. Even traditional liberal democratic values that most of us thought were unassailable are under attack. These include freedom of speech, which the proponents of identity politics condemn as a tool of oppression and an instrument of hate against vulnerable minorities, and the principle that no group of citizens should enjoy greater rights than any other.

Karl points out that while all this has been developing for some time it has accelerated under this Labour government, with inflection points provided by the Christchurch mass shooting and of course the Great Chinese Lung Rot Pandemic.

The MSM can take blame as well because of their programmed need for Doom News (“If it bleeds, it leads”) for which divisions, victims and oppressors, trouble and strife are the perfect foil for stories – compared to a past where the MSM formed a public square where issues could be debated civilly. He also takes a shot at the number of leading voices in academia, bureaucracy and politics who did not grow up here in Old Zealand:

… vociferous, highly assertive relative newcomers – in academia, the bureaucracy and politics – who see New Zealand as a perfect ideological blank space on which they can leave their imprint. I suspect they can’t believe their luck in stumbling on a country with a population that’s either too passive, too naive or simply too distracted by other things – jobs, mortgages, sport, bringing up kids – to realise their country is being messed with. We have always been suckers for articulate, confident voices from overseas; it’s part of our national inferiority complex.

All too true – but of course that includes all those voices from Britain and the USA that lauded this country during the last revolutionary government, the Fourth Labour administration, and as one of his commentators noted:

I also think Karl underestimates the influence of local actors. Critical Race Theory – a nonsense US academic theory – has been adopted en masse by local Maori activists (and their “Pakeha allies”) as a tool to reek revenge and division.

It is a national gaslighting suffered upon the passivity of New Zealanders. Whilst not naturally Right-Wing or conservative, I’ve come to realise this thought-virus of identity politics and critical justice theories won’t be defeated by appeals to the centre and compromise. National (under Luxon) simply don’t have the committment or inclination to fight this and if you think a NAT/ACT coalition will be much better, you are dreaming.

In any case the real problem with pieces such as this – much as agree with him – is that unless there are alternative answers that can be pushed across all parts of our society those “vociferous, highly assertive voices” will carry the day, as revolutionaries have often done before.

The result is that what was previously a unified and, by world standards, generally contented country is now a sour, rancorous babel of competing voices. Distrust, fear, resentment and sullen anger have displaced the broad consensus that sustained New Zealand for decades regardless of which political party was in power. Where all this could lead is impossible to say and frightening to contemplate.

I saw no answers from Du Fresne, only fears. But perhaps that is asking too much of a mere blogger. More sadly and worryingly I don’t see answers from anybody else, beyond ACT’s plaintive call to push back against all this. But by what measures, for this seems to now be beyond mere politics, let alone the dull mechanics of legislation?

2023 PREDICTIONS

with 12 comments

Here are my (political) predictions for 2023 … in for a penny, in for a pound. Feel free to argue the toss …

Jacx will not lead Labour into the election

National and ACT will form the next government

The Greens will struggle to hold onto their ten seats

NZ First will not be in parliament.

Te Pati Maori will pick up two additional seats … one List seat and Tamaki Makaurau

John Campbell will lose his cool on election night

David Seymour will be Deputy PM

Nicola Willis will be Finance Minister

Gerry Brownlie will be Speaker

ACT will pick up Education, Local Government, Defence & Veterans’ Affairs plus one other ‘name’ portfolio as well as having two ministers outside cabinet

Post the election there will be a bruising battle for the ‘soul’ of the Labour Party.

Written by The Veteran

December 29, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

A QUESTION FROM A (NOW VERY) OCCASIONAL BLOGGER

with 13 comments

I decline to accept the proposition that the Labour Party caucus and Labour’s Council are so divorced from reality so as not to recognise the Jacinda Ardern has now become the equivalent of Jeremy Corbyn of New Zealand politics. She is toxic, the electorate is laughing at her, very few believe anything she sez, the phone is off the hook. Never so true the old adage that you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. The chickens have come home to roost and that is borne out by the findings of the latest ANZ Business Confidence survey.

Two months ago I would have argued the chances of Jax throwing in the towel were minimal. No more. Labour MPs and the movers and shakers in the Labour Party will be contemplating their (non) future with Ardern remaining at the helm. So, who to replace her? Not the ‘nice’ Mr Robertson … Ardern and Robbo are the Hansel and Gretel of the Labour Party … she is ‘Him’ and he is ‘Her’. Failure incorporated. No, if they are to stand any chance at all come the election it has to be someone in their power elite … personable and not overly tainted with failure.

That person … https://www.labour.org.nz/michaelwood

Hat-tip to my Labour Party source.

Written by The Veteran

December 21, 2022 at 7:56 pm

Posted in NZ Politics

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In case you missed it

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Mr Farrar has a post up on Doug Graham and Jim Bolger pontificating over the state of co-governance, and how it got to where it’s at. I mean, really? Here’s my comment, ably supported by many on the post I see (waiting for Tony Stuart or the Veteran or even Mr Mapp to step in and proudly proclaim that “National has done much more for Treaty settlements than Labour” blah, blah blah). Like it’s just a game to them. Just do better than Labour, who gives a fuck about the country!

I don’t care what Douglas or Bolger say: their words are hollow.

They started this. They are unable to put the genie back in the bottle, as much as they might sit at home drinking port pontificating over their “hard” work as MPs. Not only did Doug Graham start it, his protege, Chris Finlayson, carried it on. You only have to read his stuff to know where the Nats stand on this. Why is Chris Luxon learning te Reo. Because he thinks he has to, not because he wants to, I betcha.

It’s like John Key and the Nats signing the UN Declaration of Indigenous People and saying they had no idea it would lead to he Pua Pua.

Or the Nats implementing the Resource Management Act via Simon Upton in 1991, and now saying “oh we never intended it to shut people out of buying a house”, which the productivity commission has said it has done. They’ve given Upton the role of putting together the three new replacement acts now! Madness.

So sorry, these two can take a jump. I don’t believe their crocodile tears.

Written by Nick K

December 14, 2022 at 5:33 pm

“Entrenchment” showcases National’s Winning Strategy for 2023

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The Government is stripping anti-privatisation entrenchment clauses from its Three Waters legislation, admitting that the unexpected amendment was a “mistake”.

I suppose I should not be too cynical since it’s worked for Opposition parties before, especially in New Zealand – see 1990, 1999 and 2008 – though to be fair to both John Key and Helen Clark, the wheels were not falling off her administration in that election year, although any administration in its 3rd term is going to be tired and making mistakes.

But when I read things like Chris Trotter’s scathing take on not just Labour – where he’s been concerned for some time about the implications of the Three Five-Waters legislation, admittedly with Chris’s usual yawing back and forth – in his post, Parliament’s Collective Failure To Defend The Constitution, I feel saddened by the state of The Opposition:

Sherlock Holmes’ famous observation concerning the dog that did not bark, might be applied with equal justification to the Opposition that did not bite.

Tired though National’s and Act’s MPs may have been, and eager to get home to their beds, Ms Sage’s SOP should have had the same effect upon them as a bucket of cold water. Members of the Opposition parties should have risen instantly to their feet, baying like bloodhounds for the Speaker to rule upon the constitutional propriety of the Green MP’s SOP. Expressions of anger and disgust should have been ringing off the Chamber’s walls like the echoes of heavy artillery.

National’s election strategy has been used everywhere at different times, in Britain with David Cameron a decade ago and earlier in Australia with John Howard’s 1996 election victory as a classic example:

Howard approached the campaign with a determination to present as small a target as possible. Throughout 1995, he refused to detail specific policy proposals, focusing the Coalition’s attacks mainly on the longevity and governing record of the Labor government. By 1996, however, it was clear that the electorate had tired of Labor and Paul Keating in particular.

But as much as I can appreciate the strategy, and perhaps even hope that Labour’s incredible series of self-owned, clusterfuck failures see them out of power for at least a decade, I am always disappointed in politicians who merely allow themselves to be led by the public mood and never try to influence it or – far more importantly – lead it.

This is not simply a desire to see a fight for the sake of fighting. Political parties that take this approach tend to end up doing little or nothing to push forward ideas and policies that are in actual opposition to that of their recently defeated adversaries, and I greatly fear that this is what we’re going to see from a National-led government after 2023.

From the latest Roy Morgan poll.

See also…
The Precious Midpoint:

National is not going to be rewarded by simply saying that it will do the same as Labour but with better management. In the face of failing public systems, especially education, that’s no longer good enough. The 2020 election told National that when voters are presented with such a choice they’ll just vote Labour.

And the lesson is not to be like the New Zealand equivalent of Mitt Romney, Theresa May or David Cameron – all squishes who either failed to get elected or if they were, failed to grasp the actual electoral environment they claimed their “moderate” noses could sniff out.

That approach just won’t cut it anymore with Centre-Right parties. Real, practical solutions based around giving incentives to individuals – in education, healthcare and other areas – are what is required. Certainly not something that “‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders“, from the hearts of wealthy suburbs sporting myriad electric cars.

The midpoint is there to be moved, not just accommodated while others move it.

As far as “extremism” is concerned, well look at the attacks on Milk SnatcherThatcher, or those fired at Ronald Reagan from inside the GOP, listed in this post, Advice from the peanut gallery

Finally, this ever true point, This sounds familiar:

When it matters, Republicans look around and say, “Oh no we can’t do that, we’d lose a man. The Democrats would take seats.” They are virtually a majority for the sake of being a majority. They just want to polish it up, put it on the shelf, and look at it. 

To put it simply, Republicans approach politics like America fights wars: They don’t want to lose a single man. Democrats, on the other hand? They look at politics like the Russians looked at Stalingrad: The congressman in front votes now; when they fall the next man gets elected and he will vote too.

Written by Tom Hunter

December 7, 2022 at 6:00 am

Further reflections on ‘Military Academies’

with 14 comments

I think it’s fair to say that National’s proposal to send serious teenage criminals to a proposed ‘Military Academy’ has gotten everyone talking about it! So I would like to make just a few more remarks and observations about it and what people are saying about it.

There’s the usual suspects crying out about how the poor little petals who get themselves caught up in drugs, gangs and crime don’t know what they’re doing and we just need to be kind to them. The habitual crim-hugger Jarrod Gilbert is against it, so is Chester Burrows. Grant Robertson is against it, referring to Sir Peter Gluckman’s 2018 report (which I’ll talk about soon). Gharaman and Davidson from the Marxist-Pagan party were against it, which partly causes me to re-examine my own initial opposition to it!

Kiri Allen had an interesting comment:

There’s no better way to get fitter, faster, stronger, better, more well-connected criminals than by chucking them all together in an army camp to ultimately go on to form fully-fledged national networks.

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2022/11/national-s-military-academy-crime-proposals-skewered-by-government-ministers-greens.html

Is that what this Labour Cabinet minister thinks of the NZDF – that it’s a breeding ground for criminals and criminal networks? I’ve felt the full loathing that this Labour Government has for the military this term, now I’m really seeing it clearly!

I don’t actually care what Gilbert, Burrows and other lefties think of this policy. They instinctively hate anything to do with the military. For a good analysis of it, former TF Lieutenant Colonel (and ACT party policy advisor) Simon Ewing-Jarvie has written an amusing take down of this policy from the perspective of what it will do to the NZDF.

The key thing about this policy from National is that it is nothing new, it is a re-hash of what Sir Bill English proposed before the 2017 election. BUT – the key difference is how much better Sir Bill was at selling this (bad) idea than Mr Luxon. It certainly was not received well last time, but at least Sir Bill was able to articulate who exactly it was to be aimed at and why – he gave exact figures and numbers of up to 50 people at a time, to Waiouru, backed up with data such as 20 teenagers who committed 800 offences. Sir Bill specifically sold this an “an alternative to prison”. Sir Bill was able to link this to his (very good) Social Investment strategy, and that this was only one option for a very small segment of NZ’s increasingly large pool of ferals.

Mr Luxon has totally failed to control the narrative about this. People are either confused or remain unaware about who he is aiming this at, where it will be, how many ferals are going to be targeted and what happens next to the delinquents. It just feels like a very lazy rehash of a policy which they do not understand the detail of, let alone able to sell those details through a hostile media.

The biggest failure about this policy announcement is the total lack of comprehension about how this will impact the NZDF. For starters, forcing these ferals to eat from the Waiouru Camp Mess will be a truly cruel and unusual punishment! National should know this, they should know how dilapidated NZDF camps and bases are. (Shout out to departing Rangitikei MP Ian McKelvie, who despite representing the biggest NZDF electorate in the country since 2011, encompassing Waiouru, Ohakea and Linton, has never mentioned the NZDF at any point in time in the House, nor has he done anything for the families or personnel in his long and spectacularly un-illustrious career).

NZDF is decimated right now, with attrition over 17%. Not mentioning how stretched the NZDF is when giving them this big task is nothing other than incompetent and stupid by National. Where is Tim van de Molen in this (supposedly the spokesman for Defence)?

If National wanted to sell this policy more effectively, they could have considered mentioning or discussing three things:

  1. The Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) scheme, staffed by NZDF personnel, jointly run by NZDF/MSD. Designed for teenagers and young adults at risk of becoming long term beneficiaries, lasting for a few months at either Burnham, Trentham or Auckland. Not perfect, also a drain on limited NZDF resources, but yields generally good results.
  2. A counter to Sir Peter Gluckman’s 2018 study of so-called ‘boot camps’ which concluded they don’t work. But his conclusion was built on shallow foundations, referencing only a study of other studies, which looked at a small number of American boot camps, and did not find conclusive evidence either for or against boot camps.
  3. The significant success of RF Cadet School. Not a boot camp for ferals, but more of a vocational school for teenagers looking to join the NZDF later on. It was an option (for people like Ron Mark) to join before heading down a path towards delinquency (such as his brother Tui went down). The benefit was that NZDF would receive a significant chunk of those teenagers as recruits when they turned 18, many of whom are still in today.

National didn’t talk about any of those things, instead they have left the narrative to be dominated by lefties and crim-hugging luvvies, whilst further undermining the NZDF. This policy announcement has been a disaster.

National has limited credibility and gets only so much attention in the media. They would be far better off discussing wide-ranging changes to our education system instead of poorly thought-out regurgitations of 2017 policy not updated to the changed situation of today, and without the mastery of detail which Sir Bill English had.

I actually think we should be punishing the parents of the ferals, probably with stocks and pelting with rotten fruit. But that’s just my opinion!

Written by Major Star

November 18, 2022 at 1:26 pm

WILL SHE OR WON’T SHE?

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There is increasing media speculation that the Prime Minister will bail to accept some cushy number in the UN or wherever. Its an interesting debate. Certainly there’s a very real chance that post the election Labour will, at best, be forced into a coalition of what in NZL constitutes the ‘hard left’ (Greens and Te Pati Maori) while at worst it will be consigned to the opposition benches.

Any Prime Minister (any Member of Parliament) would prefer to depart on their own terms with their head held high rather than be shown to the door by the electorate. Ardern, for all her faults, is no fool and she knows her star (and Labour’s) is on the wane. But here’s her dilemma (per courtesy of that ‘nice’ Mr Shama). Does she go before the by-election and make a difficult job for Labour all that more difficult or does she go after the event when, if Labour loses, she can rightly be accused of cutting and running.

I suspect there will be huge pressure on her to stay. Labour knows she is probably worth between 5-10% to them in the polls and even if they lose the 2023 election they will lose better with her in place. And one thing for sure … Ardern is Labour to the core … she will not want to see her legacy defined as leaving Labour to face a rout.

So, on balance, I think she will stay for now unless of course she wakes up one morning and sez to herself ‘I’ve had enough’ … could happen.

Written by The Veteran

October 30, 2022 at 3:28 pm

Posted in New Zealand, NZ Politics

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